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What is a Window Treatment?

what is window treatment

Whether you are updating the décor of your existing home or moving into a new space, one of the first things that many people look at is their windows. A window treatment simply refers to the design elements used to dress up a window. These include the placement and design of fabrics, the location of any rod, as well as any other design features that may be included. Window treatments can be as simple or as layered and designed as you want them to be.

We’ve put together this simple guide to the most common types of window treatments as well as their uses. Often people will combine two or more treatments in the same room or even on the same window if it fits the style of the room and their unique personality.

Types of Window Treatments

There are several types of window treatments, many offer options to change the exact look of a window, while others are set. Here are the most common categories of window treatments, each with various options and types within them. However, unique window treatments may be in a world all their own.


Shades are the primary source of privacy in window treatments. Often paired with curtains or other fabrics, shades are usually mounted inside the window frame. When shades are closed little, or no light can pass; you can’t usually see in or out of a window when the shade is closed. One popular type of fabric shade is called the Roman shade.


Draperies are made of thicker, often darker fabrics and are regularly used to complement other pieces such as sheers or curtains. Drapes can be used as insulating curtains to help keep your home cooler by blocking out the sun in hotter months. In the cooler months, drapes give warmth to a room as no other window treatment can.


Curtains are perhaps the most common type of window treatment. Curtains are fabric panels, available in tons of styles that are hung around the window frame. Curtains are can come in all shapes and styles, including various lengths and widths. Most window treatments feature one or two curtain panels, however, several can be added for a different effect.

Common types of curtains include café curtains, floor-length curtains, blackout curtains, and many more.


Sheers are a more translucent window treatment that allows light to come in without sacrificing privacy. Sheer curtains are often paired with curtain panels or draperies for added style and color options. One huge advantage to sheer curtains is that they are extremely lightweight, and add a feeling of openness to a room


A window valance is a window treatment that adorns the top portion of a window. While a valance can be rigid, usually fabric-covered wood, they are most often a shorter curtain panel. Valances are often used to complement a full-length curtain or sheer but can be used alone.

Non-Fabric Window Treatments

There are endless alternative window treatments that combine more rigid materials than fabric, here is a couple of the most common.


Shutters offer a unique look to a window. Sometimes referred to as plantation shutter, they are usually made of two separate wooden pieces that are hinged on the exterior edges of the window inside the window casing. This allows them to be opened to let the light in. Some shutters feature movable blinds that can be adjusted even when closed to offer different lighting options. A shutter can also be paired with other window treatments, such as café curtains, or a valance.


A cornice is essentially a wooden valance that encases the top of a window. Some even use cornices as an additional decorative element over other window treatments, and can often be utilized as a shelf. One common design is to place living vines on above a cornice and allow the vine to grow down the sides of the window.

Window Accessories

Window accessories can be important to the finished look of window treatment or allow you some versatility in your design. These accessories are the most common, but you can always add your own touch with other accessories.


Tie-backs give you the option of opening curtains or draperies, letting more light come through the window, or even used all the time for a more formal look. Tie-backs can be made mostly functional, usually from matching fabric. You can also use tie-backs as a design element, either with a coordinating or complementary fabric. Other tie-back options include cording, chains, even ribbon for a more whimsical design feature.


Finials are decorative ends of the rod from which the window treatment hangs. While some people the choice to use traditional curtain rods that allow the fabric to curve toward the wall. Decorative rods with ornate finials can not only add design but can make the window treatment look completely different. Finials can be simple and elegant or extremely ornate for a more dramatic effect.


A nod to history, tassels can be used to accessorize windows in several different ways. Tassels are often added to tie-back cording for a little something extra. Tassels can also be featured at the bottom edge of a valance or even as the pull on a custom shade. Tassels can be made of a variety of materials, including fine threads all the way to thick cording. The material will often determine the dramatic effect the tassel may have.


As you can see window treatments can be as varied and unique as the person looking to hang them. We hope this article has helped you get a better idea of the window treatments you may want to consider for your windows. We understand how hard designing window treatments for your home can be, whether you are doing one window or your entire home. We are committed to making the process as easy as possible. For any help, or if you need any questions answered, please do not be shy – just ask.

Start shopping online to see the options available for your custom window treatments.

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